Caterpillar Report

Now that we’ve seen the Jobs Report, how about the Caterpillar Report? You know, the “news” of that imaginary “war on women” cooked up by Democrats and the media.

Here’s a report from Jeffrey Hess of Mississippi Public Broadcasting:

The Mississippi legislature has passed a bill that will require any doctor performing abortions in the state to be a board-certified OB-GYN with admitting privileges at a local hospital. The change could make staffing the state’s sole abortion clinic very difficult, since most of the doctors who practice at Jackson Women’s Health live out-of-state and admitting privileges at the nearest hospital are given only to local physicians.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to sign the bill into law within days.

This is a very common anti-choice tactic: find some new regulation that would make the operation of rare abortion providers difficult, and enact it into law under the guise of “health” or “safety,” which is kind of rich given the GOP’s general hostility to health or safety regulations in any other area.

If there’s any doubt about the intent of this legislation, Gov. Bryant eliminated it in his signing statement for the bill: “As governor, I will continue to work to make Mississippi abortion-free.”

But Mississippi would be making much bigger news in the war on women if it were up to leading Republicans–and perhaps will yet. From the same report by Hess:

Another controversial abortion restriction bill introduced in the state died in committee this week.

Known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” the proposal would have required doctors to look for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion and would have outlawed the procedure if a heartbeat could be detected. The bill likely would have required controversial transvaginal ultrasounds for abortions in the very early stages of pregnancy. Also, it would have set a new standard for the time at which abortion could be banned because fetal heart beats can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The bill had already passed the Mississippi House and was pending in a Senate committee. However, it was never brought up for a vote in that committee before a Tuesday deadline.

The committee chairman, Democratic Sen. Hob Bryan, said he didn’t bring the bill up, because he considered it unconstitutional…..

The bill had high profile support from some of the most influential politicians in the state, including the governor and speaker of the house. Supporters of the bill say they are continuing to look for ways to revive the measure such as attaching it as an amendment to other legislation.

Mississippi Republicans take a particular interest in women’s reproductive rights, of course. This is the state where virtually the entire GOP leadership lined up behind a “personhood” amendment in 2011 that would have sought to make not only all abortions but many forms of contraception, and probably all in vitro fertilization, illegal. (Voters in the state, however, rejected it.)

But I guess in even writing about this, I’m failing to realize that whatever they are actually doing, Republicans only care about growing the economy, putting our fiscal house in order, and most of all, fighting for freedom. I am sure the women of Mississippi in particular feel liberated by the freedom-loving men leading the Republican Party.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.